Author's Note: And so it ends. I'm not sure their will be a sequel, but I do have some ideas. This was actually done last year, but I had to delay a few days posting to make sure my betas had enough time to find my inevitable mistakes. There are probably still some out there.

I'd like to thank those that have reviewed, critiqued, and assisted in the production of this work. Hopefully you'll enjoy its resolution.

Chapter Twenty-One: The Summer is Over

Dudley Dursley leaned up against the door to his cousin's room. A long time ago it had been Dudley's second bedroom, a dingy room piled with broken toys that if Dudley were completely honest with himself shouldn't have been broken, and should have ended up in the bin. Then Harry had taken over the room, and he'd been resentful, even though it was still dingy, and the furniture was poorly made second hand with a mattress that Dudley had ruined.

It no longer was. Harry's changed relationship with the Dursleys was reflected in the smallest bedroom in Number Four Privet Drive. Dudley was still amazed at how much thing had changed. Harry's room had been charmed by him into something that was really quite classic, to the point that his mother was actually bugging his father to duplicate it in the parlor. Dudley wouldn't have chosen the scarlet waistcoat, the golden chair rail, nor the cream portion above the rail. But then again, there was no way that he could have cycled through god knows how many colors until he found what he liked.

Harry had actually purchased the bed, made of something called American Mahogany, and polished until the grain seemed to almost sparkle. There were several framed pictures, which wasn't exactly something that Dudley expected in a fellow teenager's room. All of his posters were taped with double-sided tape that his mother was sure was going to ruin his wall. Dudley wasn't sure where Harry had found the picture of his parents, but he was sure that the picture of the scarlet robed seven carrying brooms was from Hogwarts, and was about two years old. Sometimes he was sure they moved.

As Harry packed things away in his trunk, a new one in the same American Mahogany at the base of his bed, Dudley had to clear his throat. "Harry."

"Yes Dudley," Harry said, still putting some well folded shirts in his trunk. Dudley couldn't fold that well.

"I'm going to miss you this time," Dudley said. "I know I haven't been the best cousin. I've probably been the worst, actually. I'm trying to be better though."

"I noticed, Dud," Harry replied. "You've actually been fun to hang around with a bit this summer. I mean you weren't bad right after my first year, and you're pretty tolerable the first few days back usually. I'm crediting Porta this year."

Dudley found himself smiling as he remembered exactly what he and Porta had gotten up to the past few days and nights. He was sure that Piers would kill him if he ever found out. He shook his head to center himself again. "Yeah, maybe. Dad's changes certainly helped."

"Well, I think that heart attack really scared him," Harry said. "He's really worked on not getting so angry."

"You think it scared him, you didn't get the call from Mum at the Hospital," Dudley said. "Mum pretty much was broken down. It scared me too. Almost as much as what the school nurse told me when I went to talk to her. I've never been as angry as Dad, but if it wasn't for my boxing trainer, I'd probably be on the same path to a heart attack like Dad had.

"I went to the school counselor too. You know what he told me to do? He told me that the best way for my to change my behavior was to think of someone that I thought was good, and keep asking myself what they'd do. I chose you."

Dudley knew that his cousin would be shocked by that statement, but he didn't expect Harry to end up dropping his caldron on his foot as a result. He'd never seen his cousin cussing rather creatively while hoping around the room. It took a couple minutes before Harry was able to cast something on his foot and look back up.

"Dud, I don't know if I should be flattered, or declare you as insane," Harry said, sitting back on his bed and pulling off his sock. "I'm going to have to unpack my bruise balm."

"What, you didn't use that all up after your date with the red head?" Dudley asked. He remembered his cousin's worry as he'd prepared for his first date after the last of the murders had been hung on the Tower Green. Dudley had suspected that Harry's date had been timed to help forget what he'd witnessed, and judging from the smile that Harry had when he'd returned at precisely ten minutes after ten, he'd been right.

"I think Neville was trying to pull my chain," Harry replied, going back to his trunk. "I enjoy going out to dance with Ginny much more than my night with Parvati. She's much more athletic, and when you're going to dance the Swing, that's a very good thing."

"As noted by the fact that you went on three dates with her," Dudley said. He wished he'd had the ability to go dancing to a place like that, though he was fairly certain that he'd embarrass himself with Porta. Swing dancing looked fun, but Dudley didn't think he had the necessary skill to even start learning how, and his mother was now to the point that she had been forbidden from doing it.

"Ginny doesn't kiss until the third date," Harry replied, moving a few items aside so he could pull a vial out of his trunk. "And after the rescue reward kiss, I had to try again."

"Glad you found her?" Dudley asked. "Or is your head still in the clouds?"

"My feet are on the ground," Harry said firmly, just before he raised his hurt foot so he could put some of the balm from the vial on it.

"I'll say it again, Harry. Shipoopi."

Harry stretched out his legs as the Hogwarts Express pulled away from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. It was a totally different Lords of the Wizengamot's compartment that it had been at the End of his fourth year. He'd invited Ron, and the two other Lords were already there, Draco, Baron Amesbury, with his wife Pansy; and Neville, the member from Lincolnshire. Goyle had been there, but had been pulled away by Crabbe. Ocie Campbell had somehow already managed to fall asleep with a big pair of bright pink earmuffs preventing her from hearing anything as she curled up on her seat. Hermione had drawn the first prefect patrol.

"Thanks for not kicking me out this time, Potter," Draco said, from his own seat, where he had his arm around Pansy. "I wasn't looking forward to helping Pansy go further down the train."

"I know better than to do that to a pregnant girl," Harry said, looking at Pansy, who was now showing her state. "How did your meeting with Lord Parkinson go?"

"I'd be keeping your belt on," Draco said shuddering. "He decided that the tale of what he did to Pansy's father in all its gory detail would be a good after dinner conversation."

Lord Parkinson had decided that his son's Death Eater membership meant that the family needed to take him to task. The formal duel had not been to the death, but to the obliteration. Pansy's father had ended up being no more that smears of blood and bones turned into sand. Some families really took their honor seriously.

"He did that again, Draco ... he promised not to," Pansy said.

"It's okay, I think all of us boys get scared by the girl's family," Neville said from his own seat next to Ron. "Hannah's father threatened to drop me out a window if I harmed her."

"It's not just the fathers and grandfathers," Ron said. "Madam Bones is scary. That monocle, it's like she's looking into your soul and she knows everything you were thinking of doing. She nearly convinced me to dump Susan."

"Your brothers are scary, too, Ron," Harry said, remembering when he'd stopped by the Burrow to pick Ginny up for his second date with her. "You're cool, and so are Fred and George, but Bill? He had me shaking in my shoes with the Egyptian curse practice."

"Charlie says he failed with you," Ron said. "What did you do to him?"

"I didn't do anything but remark that his threat to send dragons after me was an old threat that had been done," Harry smiled. "It was entirely Ginny. He interrupted our kiss after our third date. Ginny was through the roof, and after a few moments, so was he. He apparently forgot that she had a summer wand permit."

"Oh, yeah, that was epic," Ron said. "She told Charlie not to interfere. Apparently he didn't remember that you never tell Ginny that she can't do something. She'll just do it to spite you. She still wants that fourth date."

Harry smiled. It was nice to know that Ginny still wanted to date him. "I'm not getting in the middle of her argument with Hermione. Apparently she wasn't fair, whatever that means. Anyway, what was that I heard about you, Susan, and a live broadcast from the locker room of the last Chudley game?"

"Oh, Merlin, I'm never going to be allowed to forget that," Ron said. "For the record, we were not doing anything, just showering."

"You're full of it Weasley," Draco returned.

"I live in the same dorm as you, and I know I'm going to find out more," Neville said, speaking up for the first time. "Either that, or you'll be begging me to stop your combusting trousers."

Harry was about to pile onto the disbelief that Ron hadn't done more, when Hermione poked her head into the compartment. "Pansy! Greengrass says you might be able to help. They miscalculated how much Cho had accelerated her pregnancy and her water just broke."

"I only helped with two births," Pansy said, easing herself up from her seat. "Prefects' compartment?"

"Yes, we wouldn't let her go any further down the train," Hermione replied. "She still plans to hand in her badge when she gets to school."

Harry smiled as Pansy left the compartment. He hadn't been surprised that Cho Chang, or as she was now known following her disownment by her father, adoption into the Diggory family and ennoblement; Cho Diggory, Baroness of Catchpole. He'd been somewhat surprised at the Queen's decision to ennoble both Cho and Amos Diggory, now the Earl of Ottery. He had not been present when the Queen had bestowed the titles, but Prince William had. Apparently there had been some contention about that Cho was going to be Baroness of. The title would be a courtesy title for the next generation but was Cho's alone for her lifetime.

"Bet we'll hear the baby cry just as we get to Hogsmeade," Neville said.

"No bets," Ron said. "Mum decided to relate every one of her labors after ... you know."

"Interesting timing," Harry said. "Are you sure you didn't just take a shower with Susan Bones? I mean it sounds to me like you may have admitted more to your mother. That wasn't all you were up to, was it?"

"Perhaps you were giving her an extra bone," Neville said, as Ron started to get redfaced again.

"First baby can come at any time, the second takes nine months," Draco piled on. "And I know exactly what one can get up to in the shower."

"We will not doubt Amesbury's expertise in that matter, and hold him to details, when there is not a Lady of the Wizengamot present," Neville stated, as Ocie opened her eyes. Then he stage whispered, "I don't think her earmuffs are quite sound proof."

"No, they're not," Ocie said, taking them off. "They were rejects in Herbology last year. Nelson had them on right, but he still heard the mandrakes. And I know exactly which of your girlfriends are not virgins anymore, so unless you want it getting back to your or their parents, can you keep the conversation clean until we get to Hogsmeade?"

Harry had no idea if his friends had lost their virginities, but looking at the three other boys, he decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Unless he missed his guess he was the only remaining boy who was a virgin in the compartment. Draco had a baby on the way, and the gulping on the part of both Ron and Neville when Ocie made her threat, well, it sort of gave them away. He decided that since he wasn't under threat, he could have some fun.

"So, Draco, your broomstick," Harry began, watching his friends wince before he continued, "why do you persist in using that 2001? It's fast, I'll give you that, but it doesn't corner well, and as a seeker, that's kind of important. That's how I beat you on the Nimbus 2000."

"I know, I really should replace it this year with a Firebolt, if I want to have a chance against you," Draco replied. "Got any idea who is going to be your new Keeper? It's the only position Gryffindor needs to replace, unlike Slytherin. We've got to replace a chaser, and both beaters."

"I don't know about chaser, but I'm betting on Crabbe and Goyle for your beaters," Harry said. "As for my team, well ..."

"Don't tell me you're going to back McLaggen," Ron groused.

"Oh, that idiot," Draco said. "He might be a good keeper, but you can count on that braggart to mess up any team he's on. Just ask anyone who had the misfortune to do a pick up game with him last autumn. Weasley's a much better choice. And don't tell Montague I said that. My Captain will kill me."

"We can't have that," Neville said. "Pansy would kill us. Does Hufflepuff have a chance this year, Ocie?"

"Only in a miracle will we win a game," Ocie replied, uncurling from her position. "We'll have a new captain, probably Applebee, but we've lost our seeker, both beaters, and keeper. Good chaser line, still, but only with a bad keeper on the other side will that be enough. A seeker like you, Potter, and that's not even an option ... Rebuilding year, I think. Anyone know what's going on with Ravenclaw?"

"Well, if Cho plays they might have something," Draco said. "According to Davis they're pulling up two reserve chasers, but will only need to find someone if Cho can't. They might be the real challenge this year. That being said, if Gryffindor gets a good keeper, I'm not betting against you."

"I'm not betting against Ravenclaw, even in a rebuilding year," Ocie said. "After all, as Mister Cannons over there will tell you, somehow Chudley is leading the league."

"We shall conquer," Ron sung out, before starting on the Chudley Cannons cheer. Almost immediately the three other boys in the compartment drew their wands and streams of water shot out at him. Ron sputtered, and gave up. "Now I've got to ask Ginny for that spell."

"And thus making sure that your trousers are combusting," Neville concluded.

The sorting was over, the students were busy consuming the feast, and Albus Dumbledore had time to cast his gaze over the Great Hall. It had been years since he'd seen such a crowd of carefree children. He'd been so worried at the Leaving Feast the prior year. It had seemed like everything was going to close in. True, Harry Potter had already managed to thwart the Ministry's beginnings of their automatic head in the sand denial, but Dumbledore knew human nature well.

He had fully expected to open this year somberly, probably with the Ministry interfering with his school. Instead his school was filled with the sound of laughing and eating children, and more than he'd ever expected. Many of those who had turned down Hogwarts, or fled the British Isles during the many years of Riddle's terror had returned following his execution. Some families he'd never expected to see again were among the newly sorted, and some who had left had returned. The incoming class of First Years were actually the largest class he'd seen since he became headmaster, which was saying something.

Then there was his staff. Remus Lupin was back as Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, with the other surviving Marauder, Sirius Black serving as his assistant. Severus had his assistant in young Penelope Clearwater. In fact he'd managed to get an assistant for all of his Heads of House. Most of them were young, but not as young as Penelope, but he judged them to be good choices to work under his experienced core Professors. Some classes had been restored, and others would be appearing as special courses in brief Saturday runs to judge interest before possibly becoming full subjects on their own.

He was in particular looking forward to the course on Wizengamot and Royalty that was to cover two consecutive Saturdays in October. It would be interesting to see how Hogwarts reacted to royalty teaching, almost as much as it would be when the Queen came up from Balmoral to visit for a weekend. There were very few students who had met royalty, and most of those were on or related to a Wizengamot seat holder.

Over at the Slytherin table, he could see Draco Amesbury putting his hand around his wife Pansy. A kiss to her cheek followed, with a big grin. Over at the Ravenclaw table's head, the new Head Girl sat, her newborn baby wrapped in swaddling cloths somehow asleep. He knew that the Baroness Catchpole wanted to resign, but he planned to make it next to impossible for her to do so. He was not going to let that girl give up her dream, not when he had the power to help her live her dream. That new mother was going to finish her seventh year. She'd skipped a year, and had apparently figured her skip allowed her to handle her newborn, and still return to finish with her year mates.

The Head Girl badge had apparently surprised her to speechlessness. Dumbledore didn't know why, as her qualifications were much better than every other candidate put forward. If she quit, he was going to have to put up with an inferior candidate from Ravenclaw who had only managed three Owls and he suspected was behind the problems Miss Lovegood had encountered. It wouldn't do.

His attention was drawn back to the students by the sudden clear laughter of one of the newly sorted Hufflepuffs. Then Albus's gaze caught Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington giving a first year Gryffindor a gaze at why the ghost was called Nearly Headless. The Weasley twins were passing off some new prank to their friend Lee near the head of their house's table, and then their yearmates all bust out laughing as well as the Quidditch commentator suddenly changed into a humanoid moose, and proceed to try to pull a rabbit out of his hat. The laughter redoubled when Angelina's head came out instead, her own hat having sunk down to her shoulders as it did so.

A sudden elbow from his deputy reminded him that it was time for the last announcements. A nod, and Minerva tapped her wine glass, sending an attention chime throughout the hall. Albus stood and took one last gaze at the many merry students seated before him. This was going to be a good year, he was sure.

"A few announcements before you head off to your beds tonight ..."